Wednesday, November 16, 2005

China Export - Gains from Bird Flu

A star-shaped fruit called Star Anise of a small oriental tree holds the key to unlocking Tamiflu production. According to a Roche presentation 13 grams of Star Anise can produce enough shikimic acid, a raw material for 10 capsules of oseltamivir (Tamiflu).

So as world demand for the anti-viral Tamiflu rises so does the demand for Shikimic acid. It is argued that treatment of the world population will be constrained by the availability of Star Anise.

Already the price of shikimic acid from China has soared to more than $400 a kilogram, from just $40.
Star Anise has been used in oriental cooking for thousands of years as it?s pungent, liquorice flavour, and it was introduced into Europe in the 17th Century in baked goods and in the making of fruit jams.

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